First His Statue Came Down. Now His Body Will Be Removed

Bodies of Confederate general and his wife to be re-interred
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2020 2:43 AM CDT
First His Statue Came Down. Now His Body Will Be Removed
This Aug. 18, 2017 file photo shows a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in a park in Memphis, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File)

In 2017, a Confederate general's statue was removed from a Memphis park (a move for which the city was punished). Now, an even larger undertaking: The bodies of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife will be removed from the park as well. The Sons of Confederate Veterans had sued to halt the relocation of the graves, but recently dropped that lawsuit after coming to an agreement with Memphis Greenspace, the nonprofit that bought the park and removed the statues. In addition to the re-interment plans, the agreement transferred possession of the statue and other items previously displayed either to the Sons of Confederate Veterans or descendants of the people who had been memorialized, WREG and the Daily Memphian report.

The re-interment could take place this summer or early fall, though it's not clear where the remains will be reburied. Forrest was a slave owner and trader as well as a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and under the terms of the agreement, his memorial cannot be moved anywhere else within the county. "History buffs and people from all over the world will be able to visit the new Forrest Park and be able to learn and see the statue and see the graves," says a Sons of Confederate Veterans rep about the eventual, as-yet-undetermined new location. Says the president of Memphis Greenspace, "In all likelihood, they’ll never see me there, but that’s what they’ve decided to do, and it’s their right to do so." (Some want Forrest's bust removed from the Tennessee capitol—and replaced with Dolly Parton?)

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